We Want More Money

GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson of "The Hunger Games" are guests on "Good Morning America," 11/13/14, airing on the ABC Television Network.   (Photo by Fred Lee/ABC via Getty Images)

Jennifer Lawrence recently wrote an article about how gender discrimination had impacted her wages on American Hustle. She made only 1.25 million dollars or so during filming and that was not proper compensation according to her.

I am just so taken aback that she has something to complain about. She has more than most people will own in their life time. She has the privilege to work in an extremely lucrative industry that only accepts a select few. She is the highest paid actress. When accounting for actors and actresses, she is second to only Robert “Ironman” Downey Jr. She has earned the highest accolade in her profession, an Oscar. Everyone knows who she is. She has franchise action films set up to make her more money for many years to come. She has accomplished this all by the age of young age of 25. Yet Ms. Lawrence still feels as though, she has been slighted by society. She has been discriminated against. One of the most privileged people in the world looks at the few who have more than her and asks “Why don’t I have what they have?”

I’m not going to get into the myth of the gender pay gap because I don’t find it all that relevant to Ms. Lawrence’s case here. There is a personal responsibility that goes into contract negotiation. You have to convince them to pay you what you are worth. If you sign the contract, you’re agreeing to those terms. It’s not the company’s responsibility to make sure you get paid. It is on you.

Most of us do not have all the leverage when negotiating our salary. Some of us have to take pay cuts if we want to move to another company because they’ll find someone who will work for their set price. But when you’re the hottest actress on the planet like Ms. Lawrence, you have the leverage. You can turn down projects and only work when you want to. If Ms. Lawrence felt she was being unfairly compensated for her work, she and her agent could have easily walked out of that room. There’s no limit to the jobs available to Ms. Lawrence. If 2.5 million dollars for 19 days of work was sexist discrimination to her, she could have went somewhere else. And if Ms. Lawrence felt that all of Hollywood was underpaying her because she was a woman, she could have retired with all her millions at the young age of 25.

But instead she agrees to take the money and then writes an essay about how she was not adequately compensated for her work because of her gender.

I think Ms. Lawrence should take personal responsibility for her bad negotiation skills and leave sexism out of it. It does seem that her negotiation skills are improving because she’s going to make 8 million dollars more than her co-star Chris Pratt for their new film, Passengers . If Ms. Lawrence wants to be paid her worth, she should replace her agent with Number Two from the Austin Powers movies.

Beauty.

Celebrity worship is one of the easiest things a person can aptly criticize society for. You’ll never be wrong if you point it. There are always more important topics that deserve our attention than the latest outing of Miley Cyrus or the condition of Renee Zellwegger’s face. But still these sort of people get 24/7 coverage and are mauled as they leave restaurants. The demand is there. We want to know more. Who is Justin Bieber dating? Is Jennifer Lawrence really that goofy or is it all an act? Why can’t Amanda Bynes get her life together?

What is it about these people that makes us so curious?

They look good. They won the genetic lottery. Their faces are more symmetrical than the average person. They’re more charismatic. They are beautiful!

We love them for it. We shovel money at them. We love to give them money. Beautiful people can get rich just by looking good and walking down the street. We give them love. People send hundreds of love letters to celebrities. Some take it a bit too far. They get so enamored by their facial features that they have to follow them home and find out every little thing about them. People would buy the water that they bathe in.

And people want to emulate them. They want to look like them. They dress like them. And act like them. They’re trend-setters. Miley Cyrus and her stupid fucking video created the twerk. People still twerk to this day. Because she’s one of the beautiful people.

But what is the real value of beauty?

It doesn’t make you a better worker. It won’t make you a better father or mother. It won’t increase your intelligence. It doesn’t give you better reason. There is nothing virtuous about being beautiful.

Only in the world of love and lust does beauty reign supreme in value.

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This woman was kissed by the late Heath Ledger. He was a man like so many others. But his beauty sent this woman into shock with just the touch of his lips to hers. What a crazy power beauty has.

It makes your heart pump in your chest. You might stutter and slur your words when you encounter it. You can just be left in awe of it. It makes men destroy marriages just so they can have a taste of it. It makes smart women endure pain that no one should just so it can be theirs. It makes fools of us all.

We treat beautiful people differently. The rules do not apply to them. Celebrities get slaps on the wrist for their crimes. People trip over themselves trying to make beauty theirs and lock it down. Beautiful people are given better paying jobs. More people want them to be around.

But no one thinks any thing of it. For beauty is not to be criticized. Its treatment is not be rationalized. It is divine. We all just sit tight and worship it, hoping that it rubs off on us.